By Dave Catanese
There’s new evidence Ted Cruz may be more in sync with the roots of his party than Mitch McConnell.
A survey of Republican National Committee members from key presidential primary states found overwhelming support for Cruz’s 21-hour Senate floor talkathon.
And even the few who didn’t think Cruz’s speech was necessarily politically helpful to the GOP believe the bellicose reaction in Washington was overblown.
“Only in D.C. and maybe only on the Senate floor is anyone paying attention. Most Americans are so fed up with the whole lot that they have completely tuned out,” said New Hampshire RNC member Steve Duprey.
But Duprey’s comments were the most even-keeled of those surveyed by The RUN. The majority of members showered Cruz with praise and disparaged his critics.
“We’re sick and tired of people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham name-calling,” zapped Iowa RNC member Steve Scheffler.
“I am very angry about the response that many Republicans have had in attacking him and I am not sure what to do about that yet,” added Texas RNC member Robin Armstrong.
The RNC revelation is noteworthy because these aren’t tea party groups or anti-establishment agitators, but rather certified members of the Republican National Committee.
Their views underscore a striking disconnect between the GOP leadership in Washington and those at the helm in the states.
RNC members from key and early presidential primary states were asked by email or phone whether they thought Cruz’s maneuver protesting Obamacare was admirable or counterproductive and why. Here’s a lightly edited summary of their responses:
Iowa’s Steve Scheffler: “I think it’s a good thing. We’re sick and tired of people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham name-calling. Maybe they should retire. I think it was phenomenal. If Republicans want to win the country back, they better start talking the talk. Even if it were to shut the government down, to save the country from going to hell and a hand basket, so be it.”
New Hampshire’s Steve Duprey: “I don’t think it did much to help us but I don’t think it hurts us either. I do think the roll out and operation of the program is going poorly and those problems will continue, so I think the program overall with hurt Democrats in the midterms and Cruz will be able to claim he told us so. It was probably most helpful to Sen. Cruz as a way to show a distinction between himself and [Marco] Rubio and [Rand] Paul.”
New Hampshire’s Juliana Bergeron: ”I don’t think it did any harm in our party to actually stand up and speak against Obamacare, which I consider an abomination. Ted Cruz is a very bright man who made his point even though it may not have changed much except to heighten Sen. Cruz’s personal profile. Many people seemed to think he only reached his tea party base, but I was surprised at how many young Republicans gave him high fives over Twitter.”
South Carolina’s Cindy Costa: ”I support Senator Cruz and his attempt to educate the American people on the consequences of this ill-conceived bill called Obamacare that has been foisted on our nation by force of the majority. I think he has the possibility of changing the hearts of some Democrats before its too late. We can only pray.”
Nevada’s Diana Orrock: ”I support Sen. Cruz 100 percent and watched several hours of the speech. He’s one of the faces of the future of the Republican Party. I don’t support the likes of the wimpy, unprincipled Republicans like McConnell, Graham, McCain and [John] Cornyn, to name a few. Cruz’s move was not arrogant. McConnell indicated quite some time ago that he wasn’t going to fight Obamacare, so the true leaders in Cruz and [Mike] Lee stepped forward to do the job. That is what has the old status quo so upset. They’re looking at the true leaders of the party and they’re livid!”
Michigan’s Dave Agema: ”I applaud him and I feel the Republican House should not capitulate and let Obama shut the government down. It will not be the Republicans that shut it down, it will be the Democrats. The Democrats have chosen to play hard ball, we should too. This is a terrible bill full of taxes, more expenditures and funding for things that have nothing to do with healthcare. Any bill that stands seven-feet, two-inches high is not even read, understood or comprehended.”
Texas’ Robin Armstrong: ”I cannot be more proud of our US. Senator from Texas. As a physician, I personally know the damage that Obamacare will have on our healthcare and our nation. We must make certain that we reward Cruz for his stand, because everybody is attacking him. I am very angry about the response that many Republicans have had in attacking him and I am not sure what to do about that yet.”